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SARE grants to support Purdue's sustainable agriculture programs

Faculty, staff and graduate students from the Purdue College of Agriculture and Purdue Extension were recently awarded eight North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Program grants, accounting for over 20% of the $4.1 million that was awarded. The NCR-SARE competitive grant programs are offered to researchers, graduate students, organizations and others to develop research-based methods that support sustainable agriculture in the Midwest.

“These projects are very farmer-centric and stress the importance of collaboration between farmers and researchers while finding solutions to common issues,” said Jason Henderson, senior associate dean and director of Purdue Extension.

Shalamar Armstrong, associate professor of agronomy, will study “Precision Winter Cereal Rye Cover Cropping for Improving Farm Profitability and Environmental Stewardship.” His team will research the use of precision agriculture technology to plant cover and cash crops in non-intersecting zones to improve nutrient use efficiency, production and profitability while enhancing soil health and water quality.

Laura Ingwell, assistant professor of horticulture extension entomology, will research “Improving Two Spotted Spider Mite Management in High Tunnel Cucumber Production.” With the input and support of Indiana growers, the project will seek to improve monitoring and detecting spider mites in cucumbers grown in high tunnels. She will also evaluate the best method to implement natural enemies and biological pesticides to suppress spider mite populations.

Darcy Telenko, assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, will focus on “Identifying and Expanding Integrated Disease Management Resources to include Organic Grains in Support of Organic and Transitional North Central Farms.” Her team’s research aims to expand integrated disease management tools for organic grain production and to provide farmers with replicated data to combine genetic, agronomic and input-based tools into an Integrated Disease Management plan for organic or transitional acreage.

Eileen Kladivko, professor of agronomy, in collaboration with Anna Morrow, program manager at Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC), will work on “Enhancing Cover Crop Training in the North Central Region.” The grant will expand cover crop educational opportunities for farmers, crop advisors and conservation professionals as well as update MCCC’s online cover crop selector tool in four states and expand online cover crop decision tools.

Purdue graduate students also received grants in partnership with faculty for the following projects.

  • Meagan Abraham and Darrin Karcher, assistant professor of animal sciences, for the project “Establishing Pullet Welfare Measurements and Guidelines for Growers and Managers on Commercial Poultry Farms.”
  • Emily Justus and Elizabeth Long, assistant professor of entomology, for the project “Assessing Growers’ Knowledge of and Interest in Implementing Insect Resistant Varieties as a Part of an Integrated Pest Management Plan.”
  • Caydee Terrell and Ingwell, for the project “Examining the Utility of Black Soldier Fly Larvae Composting on Urban Farms.”
  • Danielle Winter and Sara McMillan, associate professor of agriculture and biological engineering, for the project “Design and Management of On-Farm Wetlands for Water Quality and Climate Regulation”

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